After establishing an extensive presence in villages, farmer unions now plan to reach out to the urban population by organising dharnas at common places in cities.
The decision was taken by BKU (Ugrahan), the largest organisation of farmers who have organised dharnas outside the houses of nine BJP leaders in different cities of Punjab.
Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, general secretary of the union, said, “At a number of places, the general public gets harassed when we block the house of a BJP leader and stage a pakka dharna as our gatherings are large and lanes of mohallas are narrow. Hence, we have decided to stage dharna from noon to 3 pm every day outside the house of one particular BJP leader and later sit in the nearby open area in that locality. This way, we will be able to reach out to people of that area as well and in addition to this, dharna outside the house of BJP leaders will also continue for a few hours on a daily basis.”
A few BJP leaders outside whose houses dharnas were held include Bikramjeet Cheema in Payal, Sunita Garg in Kotkapura, Satwani Punia in Sangrur, Makhan Jindal in Rampura, Surinder Garg (Nabha), Prem Gugnani (Sunam). In addition to this, Yadwinder Shunty, BJP district vice-president of Barnala, Vinod Kumar Binta, president of Bathinda district, Trilochan Singh Gill, state vice-president, BJP’s Kisan Morcha and Sukhdarshan Sharma. BJP mandal president from Budhlada are also facing protests from farmers unions.
“This is a way to reach out in urban areas and hence, on Dussehra, effigies of NDA, corporate houses will be burnt in cities along with protest sites where dharnas are already going on. Small shopkeepers, labourers and the salaried class also need to know that farm laws can affect them as well in a chain and hence it will be a mass movement,” said Shingaara Singh Maan, president BKU (Ugrahan), Bathinda district. He added, “When we organise protests outside the house of any BJP leader, he/she comes out and expresses solidarity with us, offers water to us. But at the same time, they are not making any effort to help farmers and hence protests are outside their houses and in their localities.”
A first of its kind dharna today
On October 18, a first of its kind dharna will being organised in Ludhiana outside Gulmohar Hotel on Ferozepur road, which is being organised by urban population and people from all religions are coming under one platform to express solidarity with farmers. “We are not connected with any farmer union but it is our independent effort to raise our voice against these black laws,” said IT engineer Jaskirat Singh.
“We are on a common platform along with farmers,” said Mohd Mustkeem, press secretary of Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Ludhiana. Kokri said, “We never knew that people are extending support to us without even being part of our unions. This is how movements become part of masses.”
Black flags shown to Warring
Meanwhile, in Gursar village of Gidderbaha, villagers showed black flags to Congress MLA Amarinder Raja Warring on Friday, when he went to the village to meet Congress workers.
Villagers said they have boycotted representatives of all political parties and hence, they showed him black flags. Due to this protest, he could not move to the next village Husnar and had to move back to his house in Gidderbaha, sources said.
Pujnab: 2 more farmers die during protests
On Saturday, two farmers, Harbans Singh and Jagraj Singh, died during dharnas against the Centre in Patiala and Mansa respectively.
Harbans Singh, who was in his mid-60s was a senior leader of BKU (Sidhupur) in Patiala while Jagraj Singh (57) had been attending a ‘rail roko’ at Mansa railway station for the past 17 days. On Saturday, he fell unwell and was taken to a hospital, where he died during treatment
On October 15, another farmer, Labh Singh had also died at Sangrur railway station.
On Saturday, 30 farmer unions had burnt effigies of the prime minister at over 85 protest spots and in hundreds of villages, said Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of BKU (Dakaunda). ENS